From his childhood spent in his grandparent's bakery in Mexico City to his new Flatiron restaurant Cosme, celebrated Mexican chef Enrique Olvera has devoted most of his life to food. This dedication to the culinary arts has garnered him numerous accolades, multiple books and a restaurant ranked number 20 of the world's 100 best for his Mexico City restaurant Pujol, which he opened at the tender age of 24. Now Olvera has returned to New York City, where he studied at the Culinary Institute of America, to open a restaurant that fully encapsulates modern Mexican cuisine while paying homage to traditional flavors and dishes of his home country.
The chef plans to change the menu frequently with fresh ingredients from the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas, with dishes meant to be shared by the table. Dried chiles and beans have been imported from Mexico, as has heirloom corn, which the kitchen will use to make their own tortillas in house. A sample opening menu revealed dishes like Lobster Sopes ($25), "Burrata & Weeds" ($20) and pulled suckling pig with annato seeds, sour orange and pickled radishes ($20). There's a particular emphasis on seafood, including scallops with cucumber, jicama, lime and cilantro ($25) and an octopus cocktail with red corn juice, avocado and purple onions ($20).
Like the precisely plated food, the space exudes a composed, modern mood, complete with low-lighting and sparsely decorated shelves of items. The effect is a bit like a designer gift shop inside a museum, with books on art, nested bowls and other types of knickknacks. Succulents decorate the tables of both the main dining area and up front bar and cafe-type space. The former serves a formal dinner while the latter offers a spot to sip mezcal and enjoy select menu items and some other snack-like fare. You won't be able to make a reservation in the back until next year, but the bar space accepts walk-ins.
35 East 21st Street, (212) 913-9659; website